The Lover Of Your Soul Sings Over You

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(Photo credit: flickr-rickr)

Here’s the thing, just as money can’t buy happiness, having a love in your life doesn’t guarantee you will feel loved.

It just doesn’t.

There is only One who loves perfectly. No other love will satisfy. Not fully. Not forever. The whole “you complete me” bit? It’s only gonna be found in one place, and that’s God.

He is your bridegroom, singing over his Beloved.

I adore this song by Kari Jobe. It’s a prayer, one that the Lover of your soul sings for you throughout Scripture.

Listen to it and read the lyrics below. There are verses embedded throughout this song, some of which I’ve listed by each line. If you mouse over them, you’ll see the phrases that are echoing throughout the Bible – a love song for you.

Soak in this prayer by your Bridegroom:

(more…)

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Set Free: What Mercy

CitySetFree_Facebook

We’re praying through A City Set Free: 40 Days of Prayer for Columbia in Karis Church and tomorrow, Day 20, is praying for those incarcerated and their families. Tonight my Missional Community met and in the course of the evening, discussed and then prayed for Day 20. One comment was made that we tend to judge people in prison looking at the wrong they have done, forgetting that we have done wrong, sinned, and had that wrong washed away – forgotten by our Heavenly Father.

That’s mercy.

It’s easy to talk about grace sometimes. We want more grace and we want to show grace and we pray for God to lavish his grace on us. Those things we don’t deserve, the gifts of the Father.

We don’t as often talk about mercy. We have sinned grievously and yet the punishment was paid by Another. What mercy was shown us, that our sins were forgiven and the debt owed was paid in full. We once were prisoners, chained in the stench of our sin. In Christ, we have been shown mercy, and have been washed clean. Pure. Free. Restored. Released from our prisons.

Praise God for his mercy!

—–

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt was Mercy. There’s a couple hundred other bloggers who also wrote on mercy. You can check them out at Lisa-Jo Baker’s site. The basic rules are to write for 5 minutes on the week’s prompt – no editing. I’ve learned I’m a slow processer, because some people end up with twice as much content than I do or more. But, it’s still a fun exercise in writing freedom and it has helped me blog more consistently.

Somewhat random, but I’m going to include it because it has mercy in the first verse: we are going to be learning a new song in church on Sunday, so I’ve been previewing it. I want to share it with you as well.

I once was dead in sin,
Alone and hopeless
A child of wrath I walked,
Condemned in darkness
But Your mercy brought new life
And in your love and kindness
Raised me up with Christ,
And made me righteous

Pray Like This

I’ve mentioned once or twice (maybe three times?) about how I’m on this launch team for The Wall Around Your Heart, right?

Right.

See, I’m so good at this, that even though some of us on the launch team decided to blog through one chapter every Monday, I waited until Sunday night to even begin to put my thoughts down in concrete form.

I’m know. I’m brill.

Wall Around Your Heart Launch Team

What I’m loving (and sort of secretly hating) about the challenge of promoting a book this book, is that every day that goes by, I’m having a mirror held up to my behavior and thoughts and friendships (or lack thereof). I don’t think it quite works this way, but I almost envision God saying, “Oh, you want to promote a book on community, do you? And you say you’re in missional community at church, are you? And this is a book about how community hurts and wounds and betrays, but you’ll learn how to come to me and in the community I give you to find healing from those hurts, is it? Well, let’s get the hurtin’ on!” (See, that sounds snippy and vindictive and God is just not like that, so this is clearly not what He’s saying.)

And yet, in the three weeks since I learned I made the launch team, it’s all coming out of the woodwork. Tough conversations, stretched friendships, messy community, slights from a friend, fresh reminders of my past screw-ups in community, etc.  I guess it makes the lessons easier to learn because I’m applying them right away, but it feels like the hard way to go about it.

All this to say, guess what my pastor preached on this past Sunday morning, guess what my church is in the middle of a 40 day challenge on, guess what I’ve been hearing God telling me I need to work on in my marriage, AND guess what Chapter One of The Wall Around Your Heart is all about?

In the opening of Chapter One, as Mary begins to walk us through the Lord’s Prayer, we read these words:

Jesus started His famous prayer with three words: “Pray like this.”

Not gossip like this. Not tell everyone else the other person’s issues like this. Not stew on the issue until your heart embitters like this. Not grumble like this. Not avoid like this.

“Pray like this.”

So simple. Praying is easy, right; just talking to God. I started praying when I was 7 or 8: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…” or “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food…” How wonderful that Jesus understood we would need to be guided in how to pray, so He gave us His example, “Pray like this.”

And yet…don’t you sometimes have a hard time praying? I do. I get distracted, sleepy, interrupted, too busy, or at times too stubborn in my sin. It’s sometimes the last thing on my mind, when it should become first. Jesus gently reminds us, “Pray like this…”

I get annoyed at someone in the office – Pray like this.

My husband does something I think is inconsiderate – Pray like This.

A friend says something hurtful or her silence causes pain – Pray Like This.

I see someone hurting others – Pray Like This.

Someone does something I deem thoughtless, careless, or idiotic – Pray. Like. This.

Dear friend, we must be praying. We need to pray when someone hurts us. We need to pray when we hurt others.

One great thing from Chapter One of The Wall Around Your Heart is that Mary walks us through where to begin with prayer. She gives us a place to start, a mindset to have as we begin to pray for hurts and for people who hurt.

Of those starting points, the one I’m most struggling with is to begin seeing difficult relationships as gifts. This is something I will most likely bring up again soon, but for now, I leave you with a great quote from Chapter One:

gifts_gutsier_stronger

I’m ready to become gutsier and stronger. Are you? Together, let’s start remembering to go to prayer in these tough situations, in our difficult relationships.

“Pray Like This” is an invitation from Jesus to take your difficult relationships and place them in His hands.

I’m blogging through The Wall Around Your Heart, to be released October 15.  You can also pre-order the book on Amazon.

I’m linking up with:

Flowing Faith     

Trusting God When Dreams Die

Do you remember the old cartoons where the coyote paints a mural of the road on a brick wall and then ends up running smack dab into the middle of the wall? Like this:

That’s about the feeling when a dream dies. You’re heading full-speed toward the road that seems paved just for you, and then you’re slammed to a stop.

Three people in particular come to mind when I think of those who have very recently been forced to discard a dream and are now wrestling with what life looks like after running into that wall. There are probably more people out there who feel this way that I don’t know about, too.

Photo credit: drubuntu (Creative Commons)

Do you feel achy and bruised from hitting the wall? Are you trying to pick up the pieces of life and figure out how they fit together again? I recently heard someone refer to this as being heartsick. What a perfect, albeit lousy, word for this. If you are heartsick, this prayer is for you.

To God,

The Giver of Life,
The Sustainer,
The God who sees me:

Sometimes the path seems so clear. It’s as if we heard your voice saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” But what happens when following that path suddenly slams us against a wall? Did we not hear or understand your voice?

The wall has been hit. Dreams have been crushed. Why did you let them believe that was the path for them? You let them get so passionate and excited for what you had in store, why did you then take their dream away? You’ve left them broken. You’ve left them heartsick. Were they hearing your voice? Did they misunderstand something? Were they misled somehow and it wasn’t you speaking?

And then, Lord, what is next?

They have broken pieces of a dream how do they recover? How do they know they can trust when they think they hear you speak again? Lord, would you help pick up the broken pieces? Will you step into these broken dreams, these hurt lives, and will you show them that you have a plan?

God, we are not in control. But we know that you are the God who created the world; the God who holds all things, including our lives, in the palm of his hand.

All we can do is trust you.

All we can do is believe that you are who you say you are and that you will do what you say you will do.

God, would you heal this brokenness? Would you plant the seed of a new dream? Even though it will be young and tender and fragile right now, would help this dream to grow? 

I’m linking up with the soli deo gloria sisterhood:

Day 31: A Prayer For The Road

Dear Lord,

You are our Healer – bring healing to the sick, wounded and dying. Give peace and patience while we wait. Heal also the mind that is sick.

You are our Sustainer – give us strength when we feel that we cannot go on. Fill us with what we need, when we need it.

You are the God who sees me – remind us of your presence when we feel so alone. Show us the plan you have for us, so we won’t be tempted to find our own way. (more…)

Day 30: Continue To Pray For Others

Need Prayer I

Photo Credit: Matt Carman (Creative Commons)

Are you ever afraid to pray for someone? You don’t think you have a powerful enough prayer for it to be answered? That if the request isn’t answered it means you failed somehow?

Or you want to pray with someone but are afraid you won’t have the right words to say or that you’ll sound silly?

It’s a little like Julie Andrews in Sound Of Music, when she forgot the younger boy’s name: “God Bless What’s-his-name!”

I’ve felt that way at times this month. (more…)

Day 29: When The Storm Surges

I committed to pray for the hurting throughout the month of October and today there is only one group of people I can focus on – those in the path of Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy, Oct.28-29, 2012 at the Outer Banks, NC.  Mostly Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills

Outer Banks, NC (Photo credit: dedhed1950 – Creative Commons)

In 2003, when Hurricane Isabel wound its way up the Chesapeake Bay, I was in Perryville, Maryland. I know it was not even a comparable experience to Sandy, or even to Irene last year. For me, though, it was one of the eeriest nights of my life. I still remember the sound of the wind that night. (more…)

Day 28: When Life Is Overwhelming

Too much work

Photo credit: Pachakutik (Creative Commons)

Several friends have commented to me lately how overwhelmed they are with everything expected of them. It seems to become more and more common to feel overwhelmed.

Dear Lord, 

The To-Do list is growing. For each item checked off, two more new items appear. I’m overwhelmed. My friends are overwhelmed. (more…)

Day 26: When Empty Arms Ache

pregnancy test - negative

(Photo credit: Konstantin Lazorkin)

Guess What!?! It’s a BOY!!

Sigh.

Those words are supposed to be joyful and celebratory. A new life is beginning! Probably 99% of the time they are met with cheers and “woots” from friends and family.

I would rather find a quiet corner and cry. Not always. But sometimes.

As the body of Christ I am supposed to rejoice with those rejoice. And no one wants a downer when they have good news. So, I smile and wish them well. I do wish them well. I’m not the woman who wanted the baby cut in two, so that no one would have him. I rejoice with them.

But…

Today, would you mind if we paused for a moment to weep with those who weep? (more…)

Day 25: When You Believe The Lies Are True

Smoke & Mirrors

(Photo credit: Alex Clark)

Every day, millions of us wake up, groggily shuffle to the bathroom, and look in the mirror. But what we see isn’t exactly correct.

The person who looks back at us is not a true reflection of who we are.

I have never run across a single person who didn’t want to change at least one part of their appearance. For some of us, it’s a more consuming issue; but I see so many people affected by image problems. I don’t even have to list them. You’ve probably already got yours in the forefront of your mind.

You do, don’t you?

For a while, I was a moderator for a food and exercise tracking web forum. (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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